Sunday, May 12, 2013

Nairn harbour fees now too pricey?

One of our regular readers tells us:

“Fees at the harbour have nearly doubled in the last four years which is a large hit and has seen a record number of boats up for sale this year. It's a shame as although some may regard having a boat as elitist many very ordinary folk have a boat in the harbour. “

Our correspondent tells us that a plea was made from the Nairn Sailing Club Commodore for harbour dues to be frozen. The request fell upon deaf ears at the Highland Council’s Fishery Harbours Management Board meeting held on the 18th of April however. A minute going forward for approval at the Council’s TECS meeting next week states:

“Nairn Harbour Dues for Financial Year 2013/14

There had been circulated Report No FHMB/11/13 dated 8 April 2013 by the
Director of Transport, Environmental and Community Services inviting Members
to recommend approval of the level of charges to be published for Nairn Harbour
in “The Highland Council Harbours Schedule of Rates and Dues” for financial year
2013/14 and to consider a proposal from the Commodore of the Nairn Sailing
Club to freeze the berthing charges at the harbour until parity was achieved with
the charges at Highland Council Class A harbours.

Nairn Harbour had its own “Schedule of Dues and Charges” as a result of repairs
which had been required at the harbour in 2003, particularly in relation to
providing new pontoons. The Commodore of Nairn Sailing Club had suggested
that the charges at the harbour should now be frozen and his reasons for this
were outlined. Nairn dues, in comparison to other harbours, were provided as
were details of the advantages and disadvantages of berthing at Nairn harbour.
In addition, information was given as to past and current works as well as
anticipated work together with estimated costs. The total amount of dues
collected for the current financial year was £36,719 and, if Nairn was to be recategorised as a Class A harbour, a budget pressure of £4,919 would be created.

In recognising the significant investment that had been made by the Council at
Nairn Harbour, the Board AGREED to recommend to the Transport,
Environmental and Community Services Committee:-

i. the approval of the 4% increase in harbour dues and charges for leisure
vessels, wharfage and miscellaneous charges; and
ii. that the request from the Commodore of the Nairn Sailing Club to freeze
berthing charges at Nairn Harbour be declined “

Our regular reader is not taken with the Council’s thinking about the investment in Nairn harbour, he told us: “The argument about new pontoons was not a good one. The old pontoons were sinking (literally) and access was only via the vertical ladders on the harbour wall. The harbour authority has a duty to maintain the harbour or close it. If a car park had resurfacing work carried out would new charges be imposed to reflect the cost of the work, I doubt it.”

The Gurn has also been informed that there is a school of thought that more money could be made from Nairn harbour if it were marketed more to visiting yachts and that the Council does not have a dedicated web page for Nairn harbour unlike seven other harbours in the Highlands that are promoted on the Council’s website.


Anonymous said...

I am one of the "ordinary folk," who has a boat in the harbour and yes, the fees are very expensive, prohibitively so for those of us who cannot afford a yacht costing 5 or 6 figures. But the idea of promoting the harbour for visiting yachts just re-enforces the elitist thinking of those non-ordinary folk. No, the harbour should be promoted for the use of residents of Nairn regardless of the size, type or value of their boat, it is after all, Nairn Harbour.
Currently, demand for berths far exceeds capacity and there is a very long waiting list for people wanting to berth in Nairn so the demand is certainly there regardless of the excessive costs. So crying about the increase of boats for sale is irrelevant, there are plenty of people who will jump at the chance to have a slot in the marina.
I and I'm sure quite a few people would be interested in the opinion of our elected representatives regarding this issue.

Anonymous said...

It seems very unfair that people who moor their boats at Nairn harbour are being asked for an increase in fees higher than inflation and have to pay more than other Highland Council harbours.

Are none of our councillors taking this matter up?

Anonymous said...

The charges seem grossly unfair. A couple of years back the Nairn swimming pool had a makeover and recently it was announced that their gym is be expanded, but I've not heard of admission charges being raised to pay for this, or for entry prices to rise above inflation, and after all having a boat is a leisure pursuit and surely leisure activities should have equal charges in terms of meeting costs etc.

As part of Tec Services HC harbours have a budget but this is the first I've heard wherby users of such facilities are expected to pay back for any repairs etc. Perhaps it's time for HC to consider letting Nairn harbour being handed over to a trust. Many Highland harbours are run in this way

As with others I'd be interested to hear what our councillors have to say about the harbour charges. Apart from providing leisure the boats in the harbour are also a big tourist attraction. The loss of boats would surely have a negative impact on tourism

Anonymous said...

Why should Nairn bear the brunt of these increased costs? After the last storms causing severe damage to other harbours, are they going to be asked to stump up for their repairs?
Its a damnmed disgrace that Nairn is being hammered by TEC's like this, where are our Councillors who were elected to look after our interests?
Or is there no political gain to be achieved in getting a fair deal for Nairn Harbour users?

Graisg said...

@ anon, willing to publish your comment but can you give me sources for your figures. For example a current word doc on the Highland Council site quotes an 11m boat as £1048 effective from 1st April this year. You can read it on this page here under current documents

Anonymous said...

An absolute disgrace! Nairn is the MOST EXPENSIVE harbour in the entire region! Maybe its time boat owners had a blockade of the harbour and car park!

Graisg said...

@ anon re: just having a berth for the summer months, guarantees etc.

Could you provide a source for your information please.

Anonymous said...


It's in the document on the HC website which you've linked to. Nairn Harbour dues 2013

Graisg said...

"The Harbour Authority cannot guarantee to hold summer berths vacant over the winter period for the following summer."
Yes fine will now publish your comment in below this.

Anonymous said...

In recent years Highland Council has also stopped people just having a berth for the summer months by saying that unless you pay for the whole year then there's no guarantee that there will be a berth got you. So if you tow your boat away from the harbour in the autumn, or have it craned into the sailing club yard you are paying 12 months of harbour dues when in reality your boat might only be using the harbour for 6 of those months (April - September)
It's time the whole system was overhauled as it's patently unfair. What other council service is run in this way (badly)

Anonymous said...


re harbour dues.
Figure of £1048 for 11.01 to 12 m boat excludes vat.
Add Vat & you get £1257

Graisg said...

ok assuming VAT @20% here comes your comment next

Anonymous said...

If TEC services don't give serious consideration to making sure that Nairn harbour has decent facilities ie power & water on pontoons and also initiate a programme of dredging, then the bigger boats will , over time,go elsewhere. Looking at the fees being charged in Nairn ( & why exactly are they different to Lochinver and Kinlochbervie) you can see that a boat just over 11 metres long pays £1257 per year. That is 3 times more than a 6 metre boat, and 6 times more than a 5 metre boat. So to recoup the loss in income incurred by only one 11metre boat leaving the harbour, you'd need to accomodate up to 6 smaller motor boats, which are the type of boats more likely to want a berth in the harbour. You could argue that the next person on the waiting list may have an 11 metre boat.....but I'll guarantee they don't. It is true that commercial marinas are more expensive but it depends how you value your use of your boat. An 11.1 m boat in Nairn costs the owner £1257 a year

Anonymous said...

An 11.1m boat in lossiemouth costs £500 moret than Nairn.

That's about £1.37 a day more.....and for that you get secure pontoons, power and water at your boat and the ability ro get out to sea for many boats for 24 hours a day.

If you've spent thousands of pounds of your hard earned cash on a yacht, Lossienouth looks like very good value, in terms of facilities, and accessibility

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Sailing Club could be converted into affordable housing if all the boats leave?

you could work for the council said...

@Anon 8:31

What a great idea anon. I'm sure the tourists would still flock to the harbour in their thousands to look at the affordable housing block rather than the boats as they do now.

Anonymous said...

And it's a cool £17 this year just to use the harbour's slip to launch/recover a small boat! No wonder I was the only one launching yesterday (a sunny August Sunday).